Sunday, June 24, 2007

Food From Eras Gone

Do you ever think about what it might mean to eat a dinner from a time past? I bet that most of us to not think about it. We are so happy with the food we have right now. And what will people in the future think about some of the foods that we eat right now? I bet some will be foreign and downright gross to them, yet appealing to us. I began to look for past eras and some of the foods eaten and decided to start with the Elizabethan period. I bet these might just be things that we could eat today if we could get used to the taste. Check out a little about the period, then check out the recipes!

The Elizabethan Era

The Elizabethan Era is the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and is often considered to be a golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance, and saw the flowering of English literature and poetry. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished and William Shakespeare, among others, composed plays that broke away from England's past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of expansion and exploration abroad, while at home the Protestant Reformation became entrenched in the national mindset.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the contrasts with the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that would engulf the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement and parliament was still not strong enough to challenge royal absolutism.

Brave enough to try a few recipes. Check these out. I might go for teh cubed milk but the others I would really have to consider. Hard. EEEEEK!

Roasted Cow Udder

Take a cow’s udder and first boil it well. Then stick it thick all over with cloves. Then when it is cold, spit it and lay it to the fire and apply it very well with basting of sweet butter.

When it is sufficiently roasted and brown, then dredge it. Draw it from the fire, take vinegar and butter, and put it on a chafing dish and coals, and boil it with White-bread crumbs till it be thick.

Then put to it a good store of sugar and cinnamon, and putting it in a clean dish, lay the cow’s udder therein, and trim the sides of the dish with sugar, and so serve it up.

Sweet Cubes of Jellied Milk

Original recipe: (translation is below)
A white leach: Take a quart of newe milke, and three ounces weight of Isinglasse, half a pounde of beaten suger, and stirre them together, and let it boile half a quarter of an hower till it be thicke, stirring it with three sponfull of Rosewater, then put it into a platter and let it coole, and cut it in squares. Lay it faire in dishes, and lay golde upon it.

Modern version:
1 pint of milk
5 teaspoons of gelatin
8 tablespoons of sugar
1.5 tablespoons of rosewater

Put 4 tablespoons of the milk in a cup and sprinkle the gelatine on top of it. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Then stand the cup in hot water and stir the gelatin into it until it is completely dissolved.

Warm the remaining milk. Stir in the gelatin-milk and the sugar.

Simmer, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater.

Rinse a 7-inch square (or so) shallow baking dish with cold water and then pour the milk mixture into it. Allow it to set firmly in a cool place before cutting into squares with a sharp knife. The squares may then be either arranged in a regular pattern or stacked as a pyramid on a flat plate, ready for the table. Cut and lay pieces of gold leaf on chosen squares.

Or instead of squares, cut and arrange the pieces into a fabulous artistic arrangement and decorate with the gold leaf.

Roasted Calf Head

Make a little hole in the head and pluck out all the brains, and lay the head to soak. [Don't throw away the bone from the hole because you'll need it later.]

Then to make a pudding in it, take White bread and lay it to soak in milk. Strain it thick, then take four yolks of eggs, cloves, mace, pepper, saffron, corrans, dates, and a good quantity of butter. Mix with the Brains to make a good Pudding, and fill the head full.

Then take the bone and stop the hole. When it is almost cooked enough, cast crumbs of bread on it.

Then clean it and make sauce to it with cinnamon, sugar, ginger, and vinegar, and boil them all together. Then you may serve it forth.

You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it. But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder.

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